Excalibur Communications, the Swindon-based IT and communications group, is helping support an epic solo voyage across the Pacific by rower Elsa Hammond to heighten awareness of plastic pollution on the world’s oceans.
Elsa Hammond, a University of Bristol PhD student, will be the only European solo female competitor in the 2,400 mile race from California to Hawaii this summer during which she will row for up to 16 hours a day.
She will be raising money for the Plastic Oceans Foundation.
Having received £25,000 so far from sponsorship and other support she still needs to raise £75,000 to take part. Having heard about her epic voyage and her need for funds, Excalibur stepped in with a donation.
At the campaign appeal launch last week Richard Morris, head of business development at Excalibur, handed over a cheque for £1,000. Elsa also received a donation from the University of Bristol.
Pictured: Excalibur's Richard Morris with Elsa Hammond
Speaking at the event, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson urged businesses to get behind the attempt, which he described as an “incredible, mad feat”.
The 24ft-long boat, which will be Hammond’s home for three months, includes a small sleeping area and all the equipment that she will need to survive, including water making kit, solar panels for electricity, satellite phone and navigation equipment.
A range of sponsorship opportunities are available from title sponsor – which would enable the company to name the boat and paint it in its brand colours – to smaller packages which would include logos on the boat and equipment.
Donations in kind for food and equipment will also be welcomed.
Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bristol, Judith Squires, revealed that Elsa will be supporting physiological and psychological research during her journey as her body and mind endure extreme conditions in isolation.
Other speakers at the launch event included Chris Martin, the director of the race, which is the first of its kind across the Pacific; Justin Adkin of SeaSabre, who is constructing Hammond’s boat, and Jo Ruxton, founder of Plastic Oceans.
Ms Ruxton added: “We’re absolutely honoured that Elsa has chosen us. When throwing things away, we rarely think about where “away” is, and our actions lead to dangerous chemicals making their way into our food chains.”
Ahead of the race, which begins on June 7, Elsa will be training six days a week around Bristol Harbour, including in her new boat when it is finished.
For more information, and to track Elsa’s progress in the run-up to the Great Pacific race, visit www.elsahammond.com.